Frustrated customers hit out over lack of mobile phone signal

The existing phone masts on the roof of the water tower on Harlow Hill. 2804036a
The existing phone masts on the roof of the water tower on Harlow Hill. 2804036a

Frustrated mobile phone customers have hit out over the lack of network coverage in Harrogate - with two men claiming it is ruining their businesses.

Last week the Harrogate Advertiser revealed O2 and Vodafone had submitted plans to boost coverage by upgrading a base station at the Harlow Hill Water Tower.

The proposals to replace equipment, including aerials, on the roof of the Grade II listed building would see new 4G services rolled out, as well as improved 2G and 3G coverage for both operators, who will share the site.

But it is a case of too little too late for many customers in the area who have forked out for expensive monthly contracts, only to discover they are unable to use their phones due to a lack of signal.

Geoff Dunning, who runs his consultancy business from his home near St Aidan’s School, said: “My wife and I are both on O2 and we’ve had problems for several weeks. “On O2’s advice, I’ve tried turning 3G off, but that seems to defeat the point of having it.

“I run my small business on my phone and it is a real concern that customers and potential customers can’t get through or think I am not getting back to them.

“I send texts that never arrive. I am sent texts that I don’t receive and I get missed calls when the phone is on my desk next to me with three bars of signal. I rely on my phone for work and it’s too unreliable.”

Taxi driver John Whitehead has also been having problems with O2.

He said: “O2 in Harrogate is terrible this week. Worse than ever. Failure to send emails, despite showing a full 3G signal strength, and texts arriving late.

“Last week, a customer, who was also on O2, sent me a text asking me to pick her up after a hospital appointment at 12.02pm. I got the text at 3.33pm.

“O2 are losing me business.”

Disgruntled mobile phone customers, including others on different networks, have also lashed out on the Advertiser’s Facebook page.

Adrian Hird said: “I’m in Pannal so I can only dream of 4G. There are only three places in my house where I can send a text message.”

While Catherine Hunter has been having problems in Knaresborough.

She said: “4G! 3G! I’d just love a signal. Knaresborough is not covered by anyone it seems. Texts arrive the day after in some cases.”

A spokeswoman for O2 said the problems experienced were probably caused by planned outages while the company switched on 4G and upgraded 2G and 3G in Harrogate.

She said: “Improving coverage is a priority for us. As part of our network modernisation programme, we’re upgrading and enhancing our 2G and 3G services and rolling out 4G. This will bring mobile data technology to places that have never had it before. Our customers will be able to do more on the move, while businesses can make full use of products and services that will allow them to grow.”

In March, it was revealed that only 28 per cent of North Yorkshire was covered by the 3G phone signal, with 4G covering just two per cent of the county.

Last month some customers in Harrogate complained of having no signal, with O2 apologising for the inconvenience.